I love the feeling of election day. The whole world seems swollen with this strange possibility, a chance that anything could happen. And walking into that booth, the smell of dust and something you’re hoping is stale sweat permeating the air, it’s that sense of opportunity which makes me smile. I look down at my ballot, my hand holding a pencil which hovers above the ballot paper.
I’m not sure how many times you check, but it takes me three, four times before I finally put my X against a name. It’s not a sense of gravitas that holds my hand, but a fear of my own incompetence. “Josh, does well but needs to read the question better,” was a comment which plagued my report cards growing up. “Bit of a sarcastic ass,” never quite made it on, but it was hidden in the subtext.
So strange however, that election day fear, the thought that your vote counts. It’s the thought your choice can make a change. It’s the possibility that makes it so special. It’s the knowledge that you’re living in a part of the world where you can freely make that choice, even if that choice isn’t quite what you want, or offered in the way you would most prefer it. At least there is that choice. It echoes of a ponderous dream, walking up to post your piece of paper through the box and thinking of the tiny contribution you make to a tiny change that adds up to something much greater.
The problem with dreams is you have to wake up. And often what you wake to has lost that sense of theatre and delight that you held before. But at least we’re lucky enough to have that moment on the stage. I just wished sometimes I’d learned the right lines. Or that more of the people who ultimately stand on the stage once we have left, had learned ours.